Clean and Green Offices: How to Promote Recycling in the Workplace
If you already practice recycling in your workplace, you are well aware of the benefits your business receives. It saves money by cutting back on janitorial fees. Some types of recyclable waste can be sold for use in alternative products. It shows that your company is conscientious and can help attract higher-quality recruits and retain them for the long term.
A recycling program adds to establishing a successful company culture of caring. And of course, it is your contribution to protecting the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
Tips To Encourage Recycling in the Office
At home, it might be second nature for you to recycle but it takes an organised plan to correctly dispose of recyclable materials in the workplace. Once your employees know what to do and have a practical system to follow, they will get on board.
Be the example.
The first step is to set an example. Management and senior staff members that initiate and use the recycling program are more likely to get the cooperation of their employees. This is effective leadership in action and it encourages your employees to become proactive in the cleanliness of their workspaces.
You may already be well-versed on the importance of recycling, but not everyone has the same level of understanding. Your staff members need to know how the waste they create impacts the environment. They need to be informed about the various waste materials that can be recycled and how to correctly sort it.
When things get hectic at work, recycling can quickly drop to the bottom of an employee's priority list. Be proactive in keeping the concept at the forefront of their awareness. Include it in your staff newsletters and by putting up posters to remind them to recycle.
Facts About Recycling
In the interest of educating your employees about the benefits of recycling, here are some statistics that show how their efforts can make a difference.
Did you know that annually, a billion trees are chopped down to make paper? Each ton of new paper uses 7,000 gallons of water to process. It also creates 95 percent more air pollution than recycled paper. Recycling is a way to offset this enormous impact on the environment.
Recycling Plastic Bottles
Recycled plastic bottles can be used for more than manufacturing more bottles. In fact, it can be used to produce material for clothing. Fabric for 22 million XL size t-shirts requires 8 million pounds of plastic bottles.
The Problem With Styrofoam
Have you considered what it means to reduce the amount of overall waste created in your workplace? For example, replacing styrofoam coffee cups with reusable, washable mugs. It takes 500 years for styrofoam to decompose in a landfill. Landfills cost millions of dollars to design, build and operate.
Recycling metal adds to an 86 percent reduction in air pollution compared with using raw materials. It also contributes to 76 percent less water pollution. Scrap metal, like glass, can be reused and transformed endlessly into other products. It's a fast process - a recycled aluminium can be returned to the shelf in another form within two months.
The Cost of Cardboard
Over 90 percent of products are shipped in corrugated cardboard boxes, which amounts to billions of tons. A single ton of recycled cardboard saves 40 gallons of oil and 75 percent less energy than required to make new cardboard.
The more recycled glass that can be used in manufacturing glass products is comparable to the reduction of energy used by the smelting furnaces. Glass is 100 percent recyclable and can be used over and over again without compromising quality and purity.
Electronic Devices Crowding Landfills
We all love our state-of-the-art technology and like to stay current with the latest equipment and devices. Are you aware that because of the sheer number of models that become obsolete each year, millions of tons of televisions, cell phones, computers and other electronics end up in landfills?
Here are a few more important points to motivate your employees:
- Recycling a single plastic bottle saves enough energy to supply a 60-watt light bulb for three hours
- One recycled tin can saves sufficient energy to power a television for three hours
- A computer can run for 25 minutes on the energy saved from one glass bottle
- Recycling paper uses 70 percent less energy than manufacturing it from raw materials
- Recycled paper from a 3-foot-high stack of newspapers saves one tree
Steps For Implementing A Recycling System
Once your employees understand the value in recycling, it's time to set up a system that can easily be followed.
Start by doing an audit of the materials produced in your workplace that can be recycled. This determines the types and numbers of bins you need for recycling. What percentages glass, plastic, paper, cardboard and metal are present in your general waste?
Some examples of recyclable waste:
- Old phones, computers, printer toner cartridges
- Cardboard boxes
- Plastic bottles, packaging and containers
- Used enveloped, printed paper, unwanted files, magazines, newspapers
- Metal, tin foil, cans
- Glass bottles, containers
The next step is to set up recycling bins. Find one or more central locations in your workplace that make it convenient for your employees to dispose of their recyclable waste. For example, place a bin for paper beside the office printer or copy machine. Clearly label the bins and provide posters above the bins with instructions. Ask your department heads to give training for using each of the bins.
Last but least is informing your janitorial cleaning staff of your recycling program. Ask them to remove general waste bins from beside each of the workstations in your facility. This is the best way of getting your employees into the habit of using recycle bins. Studies have shown that taking away desk-side waste bins increases recycling by 60 percent.
Implement Your Workplace Recycling Program With Ease
Switching your workplace to “green” can initially require a big output of time and energy. At Green Facilities, we have the expertise you need to make the transition. We offer a variety of recycling solutions to reduce your costs and your carbon footprint. Contact us today for a tailor-made program to promote recycling in your workplace.